Friday, March 14, 2014
MANILA-“Puro porma at hindi reporma.”
Using documentary evidence, Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada belied Dennis Cunanan’s claims that he initiated reforms within the Technology Resource Center during his stint as its Director General.
In his privilege speech entitled “The Tale of Two Incredible Witnesses” on Wednesday, Sen. Estrada presented proof including official audit reports, showing that Cunanan instead perpetrated, if not aggravated, irregularities in the TRC.
Cunanan earlier said that the TRC under his leadership stopped implementing projects funded by the lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in 2010. But documents show otherwise.
Jinggoy said that all that Cunanan did was actually pure posturing without producing real, meaningful reforms.
Cunanan also claimed that he should not be charged as he spearheaded policy reforms in the agency upon his assumption as its top-most official, including blacklisting of several non-government organizations and local government units. Cunanan also denied any wrongdoing, including receipt of millions of kickbacks, in relation to the pork barrel scam, a claim which contradicts the testimony of whistleblower Benhur Luy.
“Per the 2011 COA report the amount that appeared under ‘Cash fund entrusted to NGOs/POs’ represents the financial assistance granted to Kabuhayan at Kalusugan Alay sa Masa Foundation for the implementation of livelihood projects under the PDAF entrusted to the center.. O, akala ko ba, ay pinatigil na ni Cunanan noong 2010 ang mga proyektong pinondohan mula sa PDAF? Bakit taong 2011, meron nito?” Jinggoy posed in his speech.
“At kung susuriin natin yung sinabi ni Cunanan na listahan ng mga NGOs na buong giting niyang pina-blacklist noong 2010 kasama ang Kabuhayan at Kalusugan Alay sa Masa Foundation sa na-black list! Ano ngayon ang ibig sabihin ng pag-release ng pondo sa isang blacklisted NGO noong 2011?” Jinggoy went on.
Sen. Estrada also looked into the COA annual audit report on 2012. “Under Cash funds entrusted to NGOs/POs for 2012, there was an entry for 42 million pesos! O, akala ko ba 2010 eh wala na? Hindi ba’t noong 2010, 2 million pesos na lang? Noong 2011 naman, 1.9 million pesos na nga lang di ba? Taong 2012, 42 million pesos?!” Jinggoy wondered aloud.
Jinggoy also cited that TRC dipped its hands on the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program. “According to the COA report, aside from the 42 million from PDAF, meron ding ‘Collection held in trust from the DAP’ ang TRC na nagkakahalaga ng 45 million pesos.”
Jinggoy also questioned the statement made by Cunanan that his involvement in the so-called scam was merely ministerial, as the then deputy director general holds the recommending approval of the disbursement vouchers.
“Dahil si Cunanan ang recommending approval, ito marahil ang dahilan kaya sa kanya lumalapit ang mga gustong mapabilis ang pag-proseso at pag-release ng mga pondong mula sa PDAF. Hindi ba’t sa mga naunang salaysay ni Luy, sinabi niyang si Cunanan diumano ang kanilang contact sa TRC at si Cunanan diumano ang kumukuha ng komisyon mula sa NGOs,” Jinggoy stated.
Jinggoy also found as inconsistent Cunanan’s statement that he pores over documents before affixing his signature, as against his claim that his role simply “ministerial.”
“Kung masusi pong binubusisi ni Cunanan ang mga dokumento katulad ng kanyang sinabi, dapat napansin niya siguro na mas nauna pa ang recommendation for release of the 10 percent retention fee worth 2.5 million pesos dated 3 February 2008 kaysa request ng NGOs na ito ay ma-release (4 February 2008). Wala pang request, may recommendation para i-release na?” Jinggoy asked.
“Kung masusi niya ring binubusisi ang mga dokumento, dapat napansin niya rin na noong September 26, 2008 napirmahan ang MOA na nagsasabing may mga dokumento munang dapat isumite ang NGO bago mag-release ng pondo. Pero mapapansin na September 25, 2008 pa lang may tseke na para sa NGO. Wala pang MOA ngunit may tseke na?” the lawmaker inquired.